Thinking about the Poem
I. 1. Can a “simple jab of the knife” kill a tree? Why not?
A simple jab of the knife can't kill a tree because roots of the tree are attached to the earth. If its root is not removed from the earth, it will grow again.
2. How has the tree grown to its full size? List the words suggestive of its life and activity.
The tree has fed upon the crust of the earth. It has absorbed the Sunlight, air and water for years. Thus it has grown slowly into a huge size.
3. What is the meaning of “bleeding bark”? What makes it bleed?
The bleeding bark' means that part of the tree where it has been chopped and the sap is oozing from there. The bark bleeds when the tree is hacked or chopped
4. The poet says “No” in the beginning of the third stanza. What does he mean by this?
The poet means to say that a tree can't be killed even by hacking or chopping. It has to be uprooted completely.
5. What is the meaning of “anchoring earth” and “earth cave”?
The earth serves both as an anchor and as a cave for the tree. It feeds the tree and provides a cave for its roots.
6. What does he mean by “the strength of the tree exposed”?
The strength of the tree lies in its roots, which the poet asks to snap out in order to kill the tree. Thus, the phrase “the strength of the tree exposed” refers to the roots of the tree being exposed to sunlight and air.
7. What finally kills the tree?
When the roots, which had anchored it lying hidden in the earth for years, were dug out, the tree’s strength was exposed, should be the left to wither in the sun. This led to the death of the tree.